Whatever that is.
Anyway, John Quiggin is salivating at the implications of the current schemozzle for ‘neoliberalism’. It’s finished he reckons. So too the ‘Washington Consensus’. I have my doubts. I guess some of the worst excesses of this time around will be a cause for lessons to be learned. But as for something more fundamental?
I was going to try to articulate my doubts a bit more fully, but haven’t the time. But I do have the time to link you to Steve Randy Waldman’s more pessimistic view. Of course I expect Steve Randy Waldman’s perfect world would be quite different from John but that aside, I think SRW’s (what am I supposed to call this guy – ‘Steve’, ‘Randy’ or ‘Steve Randy’ – what is it with these Americans?) presumptions about how the world works are more consistent with my experience of the world than John’s.
You see rather than be cured, these things metastasise. People have been dancing on the grave of the Washington Consensus for a long time. But it keeps reinventing itself, most recently in the ‘institutions’ view of development. There’s nothing terribly wrong with quite a bit of the Washington Consensus or the ‘institutions’ view. But these perspectives should be starting orientations, rather than formulas for fly-in fly-out fixes. Imposed in a Procrustean way their results are often disappointing, and sometimes disastrous.
The fondness for dogma, rather than trying to figure out in a pragmatic way what the issues are and the most efficacious ways of dealing with them – a pragmatism proposed by people like Dani Rodrik (one economics many recipes) – will metastasise again and again. Add to this the rampant mixture of corruption and log rolling that is American politics and it’s hard to see much that is particularly terrific coming our way. But no doubt some of the problems will be cleaned up – like the Savings and Loans problems of the 1980s ;).